Creating the Next Generation of the Financially Savvy
Posted 27 October 2023
In today’s world personal finance plays a vital role in our daily lives but it is alarming to note that many young people lack the knowledge and awareness that is necessary to protect themselves from financial exploitation.
Financial exploitation occurs when an individual or entity takes advantage of someone’s vulnerability for personal gain. This can be shown in many ways such as scams, identity theft, social engineering, and money muling/money laundering. Whatever the method, the results are often the same: financial losses, emotional distress and in some instances, it can lead to imprisonment.
The UK has seen a significant rise in fraudulent activity, with UK consumers losing a combined £2.1 billion across different fraud types in the last year. Money muling in particular, seems to be on the rise especially amongst young people. On 2nd October 2023, Barclays issued an urgent warning to university students at the start of the academic year, after new data had revealed that cases of student money mule had risen by 23% since October 2022.
According to the National Crime Agency, around 6 in 10 mules are under the age of 30, with many criminals targeting their recruitment at mules at university or sixth form students, when young people need their own money the most. The research carried out the National Crime Agency also uncovered that most mules are recruited between the ages of 17 and 24. In most cases young people involved muling may have come into possession of luxury goods that they cannot account for. There may even be evidence of them opening bank accounts to hold or transfer money of which they cannot provide an explanation of where the money came from.
Identity theft is yet another crime that has reached an all-time high with almost 70% of cases filed to the National Fraud Database account for identity theft as the cost-of-living crisis fuels a surge in fraudulent activity. This is because many individuals have become less financially stable and therefore are more susceptible to approaches by fraudsters, often advertising fake deals and discounts in an attempt to steal personal and financial information.
Money muling and identity theft are just a couple of examples amongst many, of financial exploitation.
With different methods of financial exploitation becoming more sophisticated, especially with the advancement of technology and social media, it is more important than before to ensure young people are aware of the signs and dangers in order to stay safe with money.
At NOCN, we recognise that financial exploitation is a growing problem and the need to educate young people is paramount to ensuring the next generation are financially savvy. Therefore, we have been working with industry experts to develop a Level 2 Award in Financial Exploitation Awareness. This qualification is vocationally based, made up of four mandatory units and offers the opportunity for learners to demonstrate an achievement of practical skills, understanding and knowledge of financial exploitation.